We have recently been successful in the appeal of an application for our client to join his EU national partner under the EUSS (EU Settlement Scheme). There has been lots of coverage recently about this topic following a decision by the Court of Appeal in Celik vs Secretary of State for the Home Department which ruled that those who were living with an EU partner before Brexit must have held an EU permit to apply now under the EUSS scheme.


However, in this case, the partner had not come to the UK yet, so we managed to successfully argue that no residence permit was needed to show relationship. We are delighted to secure this result for our client and wish him and his partner well for the future.


Keep reading to learn more about this case.


What was the background of the case?


Our client first instructed us to apply for entry clearance under the EU Settlement Scheme to live together with his partner in the UK in 2022. The client commenced a relationship with his partner who is an EU national in 2016 and they lived together in Venezuela as students. The partner has been living in the UK with pre-settled status since 2019 but was then stuck in the UK until 2021 because of the travel restrictions during the pandemic.


In 2019, they approached a Venezuelan Notary public solicitor who compiled an agreement confirming their civil partnership. They then made an application; however, the Home Office refused the client’s application on the basis that the Home Office didn’t recognize the civil partnership and therefore was not satisfied that they had a durable relationship for over 2 years.


The couple were left with the option of applying for a spouse visa. A route which is within the immigration rules but is extremely expensive with Home Office and Immigration Health Surcharge fees.


They approached us to submit a spouse application. As they had been in a genuine relationship for over 6 years, we felt there was merits to submit another EUSS application as we were of the view that the Home Office failed to give their case sufficient consideration. We submitted a new application under the EUSS scheme.


What are the normal requirements for EU Settlement Scheme cases?


Usually, to succeed in application as a partner under the EU Settlement Scheme, the applicant must demonstrate the existence of a durable relationship. This requires the applicant and the partner to have lived together for a minimum of 2 years. Usually, you require a residence document. However, this does not apply to EU national partners who are yet to enter the UK.


What did we do for the client?


Unsurprisingly, the Home Office refused our application with the refusal letter almost identical to the first refusal the Client received a year prior.


We appealed the decision so that the case could be considered by a First-tier tribunal judge.


What happened in the appeal hearing?


Our arguments were based on two grounds. The first is that the civil partnership agreement was valid and the second was that they had clearly been in a durable relationship since 2016.


Civil partnership


Since the SSHD didn’t recognise the submitted civil partner document as they had not been registered with a Venezuelan equivalent of a UK registrar, we argued about the legality of what the Home Office was requesting. Such processes do not exist in Venezuela. The declaration of the client’s civil partnership was declared by applicant and sponsor, that two witnesses attested to the relationship before the special notary, and the documents were then placed before a registrar and certified. Even though it has not been presented and certified by a public official. We argue there was no greater length our client could go through to show that they are in a civil partnership.


Durable relationship since 2016


The Home Office argued that there was a lack of documentary evidence showing that they resided together since 2016. They expected utility bills etc. We provided a tenancy agreement, along with photographs of our client and his partner every year since 2016. We argued the ease of registering for utilities in the UK cannot be seen as the standard. Venezuelan housing typically has all bills included and the owner of the property usually pays for them. We argued that when looking at the evidence as a whole, it is clear that on the balance of probabilities our client was in a durable relationship. We also argued that a competent decision maker would arrive at that conclusion.




The Judge agreed with both of our arguments. He believed that there was a civil partnership and that they had been in a relationship since 2016. The judge gave the decision the same day, which is not a typical occurrence in tribunal hearings.


Our client and his partner are delighted. They came to us defeated with no option but to apply for a spouse visa which would have caused severe financial hardship to them. Together, we have been able to obtain EU Pre-Settlement status for our client.


This case shows the importance of not giving up following an immigration refusal. If you believe that the refusal was wrong, then this should be fought as you can see from this case.


Have questions about this article? Get in touch today!


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